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Incredible new Ford GT MkII is a no-limits Le Mans racer

Ford GT MkII track-only supercar at Goodwood

It seems Ford isn’t quite done with the GT just yet. The MkII, which debuts at Goodwood Festival of Speed today, is a track-only version of the supercar that outguns the GTE racing version Think of it as Ford’s McLaren Senna GTR.

Costing from £950,000, it’s a lot more expensive than a ‘standard’ GT. So what makes the MkII special?

Best of both worlds

Ford GT MkII track-only supercar at Goodwood

Ford’s goal with the MkII is to combine the best of both worlds: the GTE racer and the road car. The GTE, while fully competition-prepared, is hamstrung by power limitations and other regulations.

The road car, while unrestricted in terms of performance, needs to comply with occupant and pedestrian safety regulations. It needs to get over speed humps and meet emissions regulations. And it needs to have road tyres.

Ford GT MkII track-only supercar at Goodwood

“The true off-the-hook performance capability of the GT hasn’t yet been fully showcased,” said Larry Holt, chief technical officer at Multimatic, which builds the MkII. 

“The road car is obviously limited by the many global homologation requirements that it must comply with, and the race car suffers from the restriction of the dreaded ‘Balance of Performance’, resulting in it being 150hp down on the road car. The MkII answers the regularly asked question of ‘How would the car perform with all the limitations lifted?’. The answer is ‘spectacularly.’”

So, while the GTE produces well short of the road car’s 650hp, the MkII gets 700hp from its 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6. Unlike the road version however, the MkII has slick tyres, race-spec fixed suspension and more wing than any GT yet seen. It’s also significantly lighter than the road car, having shed 90kg.

The dual-element wing is joined at the back by a large diffuser, while a new splitter, wing louvres and dive planes balance out the front. All in, there’s up to 400 percent more downforce than the road car, and it’s capable of pulling up to 2g in corners.

Ford GT MkII track-only supercar at Goodwood

Carried over from the road car are the ceramic brakes and distinctive headlights.

Cooling has also been significantly improved, with the addition of a high-capacity charge air cooler with water spray tech. 

Ford GT track-only supercar at Goodwood

On the inside, it’s very ‘race car’. You get a bespoke Sparco race seat with a six-point harness. A passenger seat is optional, although a Motec data system is standard. 

The Ford GT MkII is limited to just 45 units. To get hold of one, you’ll need to go straight to Multimatic. We suspect they won’t be available for long.

2019 Ford Focus ST review: the future’s bright

2019 Ford Focus ST review

Leo Roeks talks a good game. The new Focus ST is “capable of punching you in the back the moment you hit the throttle,” says the director of Ford Performance. “Drivers can have full confidence in its ability to deliver on the track.”

His words sound like a sales pitch for the 2020 Focus RS, not a rival for the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Hyundai i30N and Renault Sport Megane 280. The ST is still semi-sensible – in theory, at least.

Ford may have turned up the wick, but expectations have been ratcheted up to match. The Blue Oval has history when it comes to hot hatchbacks, after all. I collect the keys at Nice airport, set the sat nav for the Route Napoleon and brace my back. Don’t let me down, Leo.

Focus ST in figures

2019 Ford Focus ST review

Let’s start with some stats. The ST uses a detuned version of the 2.3-litre Ecoboost engine from the previous Focus RS and current Mustang. It drives the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox (a seven-speed paddleshift auto arrives in the autumn) and electronic front differential. Peak power of 280hp at 5,000rpm means 0-62mph in 5.7sec: gains of 30hp and 0.8sec versus the outgoing ST. Top speed is capped at 155mph.

A class-leading 310lb ft (420Nm) of torque at 4,000rpm is what really stands out, though. The ST’s in-gear acceleration is quicker than the old Focus RS, and quarter-mile times are nigh-on identical. A clever anti-lag system – first seen on the Ford GT supercar – keeps the turbo spinning between shifts.

Stopping power is enhanced with larger 330mm front discs, twin-piston calipers and an electric brake booster. The ST also rides 10mm lower than a regular Focus and adaptive dampers are standard on the five-door hatch. As for efficiency, Ford quotes 35.7mpg and 179g/km.

Paying the price

2019 Ford Focus ST review

Another surprising figure is buried at the bottom of the spec sheet. At £31,995, the ST is priced on par with a Golf GTI and around £2,500 more than an i30N Performance. It’s also a whopping £9,000 more than a top-spec Fiesta ST-3. Engineering boss Stefan Münzinger repeatedly used the term “affordable performance”, but frankly, the ST seems a bit spendy. My test car nudged £35k with options.

For the budget-conscious, there’s also a 190hp 2.0-litre diesel ST. It returns a thriftier 58.8mpg and 125g/km, and starts at £29,495 – around the same as a Golf GTD. Sadly, it wasn’t available to drive at the launch.

You can also choose an estate version of the petrol or diesel for £1,100 more. This serves up 608 litres of load space, versus 375 in the hatchback (1,653/1,354 with rear seats folded flat)

What’s the story, Orange Fury?

2019 Ford Focus ST review

The man in a Ford Performance polo shirt offers a choice of Performance Blue or Orange Fury, both exclusive colours for the ST. Naturally, I opt for the latter. This is the ST’s long-established signature shade, starting with Electric Orange on the original Mk2, then Tangerine Scream on the Mk3. This latest may be the brightest orange yet; in the fierce July heat it looks almost radioactive.

Look beyond the fruity paint, however, and the new ST is relatively subtle. A honeycomb front grille improves cooling, the tailgate spoiler adopts a more aggressive angle and twin tailpipes poke out from a pseudo diffuser. Alloys are 18 inches, or you can opt for the ‘Magnetite’ matt 19-inchers seen here. Either way, they’re wrapped in bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

Make up your own mind about the ST’s styling, but I’m relieved Ford hasn’t gone ‘full Halfords’. The Focus is already quite fussy, with scalloped, BMW-style flanks and heavy haunches, so it doesn’t need more drama. The Honda Civic Type R shows what happens when designers get over-excited…

Engage Sport mode

2019 Ford Focus ST review

It’s similar to a standard Focus inside, too, although big-bolstered Recaro seats, an aluminium gear knob, alloy pedals and smatterings of fake carbon fibre hint lighten the mood. Crucially, those seats are now mounted lower, so you no longer feel perched on top of the car.

Controls for the drive modes – a first for the Focus ST – are on the steering wheel (rather than the centre console, as in the Fiesta). “BAM! They’re right there when you need them,” whoops Leo, a man who calls Ford’s Lommel test-track his “office”. There’s a one-touch Sport button, plus another for cycling through Slippery/Wet, Normal and Sport. Opt for the Performance Pack and you get an additional Track setting, but there’s no RS-style Drift mode. This is a front-wheel-drive car, remember?

Elsewhere, the Sync 3 touchscreen media system is intuitive to use and connects to your smartphone via Apple Carplay and Android Auto. And you get all the practicality of a Focus hatchback – or indeed estate – including space for three adults in the back.

In a break with the past, Ford no longer offers ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3 trim levels. “The majority of customers chose the ST-3 anyway,” says Stefan. Instead, there is a single, well-equipped spec, with a limited choice of options on top. The Performance Pack, which includes Track mode, adaptive ‘CCD’ suspension, launch control and rev-matching for the manual gearbox, is a must-have. It costs £250 on the ST petrol hatch (which already has CCD) or £800 for other models.

Having a Nice time

2019 Ford Focus ST review

Threading my way through traffic-choked Nice, I’m first struck by how easygoing the ST feels. Its ride is measured but forgiving, shrugging off urban pockmarks where a Megane RS would jitter and jolt. Its steering is light (“We worked hard to remove friction from the system,” explains Stefan) and its gear lever moves with well-oiled precision. So far, so Focus.

As the road carves its way into the Alpine foothills, I stab at the Sport button. Instantly the Focus feels, well, more focused: throttle response sharpens, dampers tense and the steering gains added heft. Best of all, rev-matching is activated, which replicates the effect of heel-and-toe downshifts, matching engine and wheel speeds for smoother braking and cornering. There’s some torque steer as you accelerate away, however.

Switching to Track ramps up the action of the e-diff, hooking the car into apices as the exhaust pop-pops on the over-run. The contrast between drive modes is more pronounced than the ‘always on’ Fiesta ST, but even at maximum-attack the ST moves with a loose-limbed pliancy that some rivals lack. What’s missing is that telepathic connection and plucky playfulness that’s made the Fiesta such a cult car. The Focus is more rounded, yet it’s missing a little magic.

Packing a punch

2019 Ford Focus ST review

Make no mistake, though, the ST serves up serious cross-Provence pace. The Ecoboost engine punches hard from 2,500rpm and revs keenly, helped by short gear ratios and the anti-lag tech. It never feels short of shove and its gravelly soundtrack (artificially enhanced, admittedly) is pleasingly reminiscent of the old, five-cylinder Focus ST.

There’s plenty of grip before the chassis eventually defaults to understeer and the brakes inspire confidence, too. The booster adjusts bite-point to keep pedal response consistent, so they never go soft – even on long mountain descents. Another added bonus – and one of the joys of a hot hatch – the Focus actually feels the right size for these roads. On capillary lanes where a supercar would feel squeezed, it scarcely needs to slow down. If you’re really going for it, the gearbox allows clutchless flat-shifting near the redline.

This, then, is a car that flatters your mistakes and makes it easy to drive ‘enthusiastically’. I’ve been doing just that for hours and the mid-afternoon heat is like an oven outside. But with the air-con set to deep-freeze, I’m still relaxed and raring to go.

2019 Ford Focus ST verdict: four stars

2019 Ford Focus ST review

Perhaps that’s the point. Aimed squarely at the hot hatch heartland, the ST needs to tick a lot of boxes. It has to work as a daily driver, a school-run shuttle, a family holdall – and it does all of those with a similar breadth of abilities to the benchmark GTI. Indeed, with the Golf due for replacement soon, the Focus looks well-placed to claim its crown.

Nonetheless, while it may be ‘everyman’, the ST isn’t for everyone. The Type R, i30N and Megane RS are all more exciting on the right road, while spending a little more on the Mercedes-AMG A35 gets you a truly premium cabin and four-wheel drive. I’d probably still go for the Golf, but that’s as much down to personal preference (I’ve owned several GTIs before) as objective assessment.

The Focus ST isn’t a head-and-shoulders above the competition like the brilliant Fiesta. But it’s a very quick and accomplished hot hatch that, I suspect, would work its way into your affections over time. Next year’s Focus RS should be something quite special.

Specification: Ford Focus ST 2.3 Ecoboost petrol hatchback

Price: £31,995
Engine: 2,261cc turbocharged four-cylinder
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Front suspension: MacPherson struts, coil springs, adaptive dampers
Rear suspension: Multi-link, adaptive dampers
Brakes: 330mm discs front, 302mm rear
Wheels: 18-inch alloy (19-inch optional)
Tyres: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, 235/40 R18 (235/35 R19 optional)
Power: 280hp@5,000rpm
Torque: 310lb ft (420Nm)@4,000rpm
0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
Maximum speed: 155mph
Fuel economy: 35.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 179g/km
Length: 4,388mm
Width: 1,979mm (inc. mirrors)
Height: 1,458mm
Kerb weight: 1,508kg

Ford Focus ST: in pictures

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Ford launches £2,000 summer scrappage scheme

Ford £2,000 scrappage scheme

Ford has unveiled its new £2,000 scrappage incentive for summer 2019. This will build on the 2017-2018 Ford scrappage scheme, which saw 25,500 older dirtier vehicles scrapped. It follows Vauxhall, which announced its new £4,000 scrappage scheme only a short while ago.

Yes, you can get £2,000 towards the purchase of a new Ford if you put part exchange an old car from now until the end of September 2019, and register your new car between 1 July 2019 and 31 March 2020.

The cars eligible to scrap

Ford £2,000 scrappage schemeThere are, of course, a few catches. For one, there’s the eligibility of the vehicle you’re submitting for scrappage. Happily, there is only one age restriction, and it’s fairly inclusive.

As long as your car was registered before 1 January 2013 and you’ve owned it for at least 90 days, it’s eligible.

The cars you can buy with scrappage

There are restrictions on the cars you can buy, too. Want scrappage money off something sporty? Too bad. The aim of the scrappage scheme is to get cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars on the road. A 5.0-litre Mustang goes against that.

As does, in Ford’s view, all Fiesta ST and Focus ST models, all Zetec derivatives, the Fiesta Trend and the Ka+. That’s really rather restrictive, isn’t it? That’s because Ford wants to shift as many of its cleanest and most fuel-efficient models as possible. The pressure to meet looming sales targets for cars under a certain emissions brackets is building.

Ford £2,000 scrappage scheme

There are certain commercial vehicles you can get, too. The benefits are even stronger, with the £2,000 bonus excluding VAT. The catch is that the Ranger Raptor or a Transit Connect are not eligible.

“Our last Ford scrappage scheme saw 25,500 customers trade-in their older vehicles for Ford models equipped with our latest emissions and fuel-efficiency technologies, contributing to reducing CO2 and other emissions on U.K roads,” said Andy Barratt, managing director, Ford of Britain.

“We expect our new Ford scrappage scheme that we’re launching on July 1 to also have a positive impact on the environment.”

More Ford Mustang Bullitts coming to the UK

Mustang Bullitt production extended for 2020

The limited edition Bullitt Mustang is to live on into 2020 as Ford looks to take advantage of high demand. The full 2018 and 2019 quota filled quickly for the model. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Warner Brothers film, which starred Steve McQueen as Frank Bullitt alongside a Highland Green Ford Mustang.

The car reportedly sold out immediately after its 2018 launch, prompting another production run. If you missed out the first time, be quick, as the new run is on sale now from £48,210. Deliveries are expected to begin in the UK early next year.

As a reminder, the Bullitt Mustang benefits from a lung upgrade for its 5.0-litre ‘Coyote’ V8 engine, courtesy of the high-performance Shelby GT350. The ‘Open Air Induction System, including the Shelby’s intake manifold and 87mm throttle bodies, helps the Bullitt to produce over 450hp.

Mustang Bullitt production extended for 2020

If you’re feeling a bit contrarian, you can actually option your Bullitt without the Highland Green paintwork that’s so evocative of Steve McQueen’s original San Francisco-skidding steed. Other choices are limited to just the one, though. How does Shadow Black sound?

Fewer than 200 Bullitt Mustangs were allocated to the UK; exactly how many this extended run will deliver remains to be seen but you can be sure there won’t be many. Get on the blower to your local Ford dealer, Frank.

The 2020 Mustang GT500 is the most powerful Ford ever made

Shelby Mustang GT500 power revealed

Ford has revealed the power figures for the new Mustang Shelby GT500 and they are… galactic. Are you sitting down?

With its supercharged 5.2-V8, the new Shelby GT500 produces 760 horsepower and 625 lb ft of torque. Seven-hundred-and-sixty…

That’s more than the Aston Martin DBS Superleggera, McLaren 720S, Ferrari 488 Pista and Porsche 911 GT2 RS. It even pips the latest and greatest V12 raging bull, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, by one solitary horsepower.

Related: 2020 Shelby GT500 vs 1967 Shelby GT500

As for home-grown rivals, Chevrolet’s Corvette ZR1 falls foul of the GT500’s muscle by around five horsepower.

It doesn’t quite outmuscle the mighty mopars, mind. The Dodge Challenger Redeye and Demon beat it out, producing a respective 797 and 840 horsepower. Is this why they call America the land of opportunity?

How does the GT500 make all that power?

Shelby Mustang GT500 power revealed

Well, the 5.2-V8 isn’t entirely dissimilar to the Voodoo unit found in the GT350. Instead of a flat plane crank, it has a traditional cross plane.

That makes for lower revs and a lumpier sound compared to the more exotic shriek of the GT350. Adding a shriek of its own – and a considerable donation to that power figure – is the 2.65-litre supercharger plonked on top… 

As for performance, or indeed how much the Shelby GT500 will cost, that remains a mystery. Equipped with a new dual-clutch gearbox that can shift in under 100 milliseconds, it ought to put that power to good use. That’s assuming it can keep the rears from lighting up.

It’s a sophisticated Mustang. That gearbox, that engine, sophisticated aero, massive brakes and suspension upgrades mean the most monstrous Mustang won’t quite be a people’s pony car. Nor, sadly, will it be available in the UK in right-hand-drive, like the 5.0-litre V8 GT.

Shelby Mustang GT500 power revealed

“With its supercar-level powertrain, the all-new Shelby GT500 takes the sixth-generation Mustang to a performance level once reserved only for exotics,” said Hermann Salenbauch, global director, Ford Performance vehicle programs.

“As a Mustang, it has to be attainable and punch above its weight. To that end, we’ve set a new standard among American performance cars with our most powerful street-legal V8 engine to date, plus the quickest-shifting transmission ever in a Mustang for all-out precision and speed.”

Every new Ford Ecosport SUV has carpet made from 470 recycled plastic bottles

Ford EcoSport plastic bottle carpets

Ford has revealed that its EcoSport SUV features carpets that are made from recycled plastic bottles, truly putting the ‘Eco’ in EcoSport.

The carpet in every car is comprised of 470 single-use plastic drink bottles, which is great news for the planet. Since the launch of the EcoSport in 2012, 650 million 500-millilitre bottles weighing around 8,262 tons have been transformed into carpeting for the small SUV.

Every year, 1.2 billion plastic bottles are recycled by Ford to produce parts for its cars. Ford first began using recycled materials in the production of its cars 20 years ago, with the Mondeo.

Water into wine, plastic into carpets

Ford EcoSport plastic bottle carpets

How do you turn plastic bottles into car carpets? First, they’re shredded down into tiny flakes – cap and all. The flakes are then heated to 260 degrees centigrade, melting it all down. The plastic is then formed into fibres the width of one of the hairs on your head.

From there, it’s a simple case of spinning fibres into yarn, and the yarn woven into carpets. We assume that 470-bottle figure is an equivalent figure, rather than Ford literally filing 470 bottles in at a time for the production of a single car’s carpets…

It’s not quite up to Aladin’s carpet demands, but it’s pretty magical from an ecological point of view.

“Consumers have a hugely increased awareness of the harm that simply discarding plastic can do – but we have long been on a mission to increase the proportion of recycled and renewable materials that are used in every new car we make,” said Tony Weatherhead, materials engineer, Ford Motor Company.

Are hand sanitisers wearing out your car’s interior?

Using hand santitiser

The market for hand sanitisers is expected to rise by 60 percent by 2024, which could be bad news for your car’s interior.

That’s according to Ford engineers, who have warned that chemicals found in everyday products, such as hand sanitisers, sun lotions and insect repellent, can cause interior surfaces to wear prematurely.

Higher sun protection factor lotions contain greater quantities of titanium oxide that can react with plastics and natural oils that are found in leather.

Meanwhile, diethyltoluamide (DEET) is found in insect repellents, and many hand sanitisers contain ethanol. As a result, our car’s interior is being subjected to a chemical attack.

Using sun lotion

Mark Montgomery, senior materials engineer at Ford’s Material Technology Centre, said: “From hand sanitisers to sun lotions to insect repellent, consumer trends are constantly changing, and new products are coming on to the market all the time.

“Even the most innocuous seeming product can cause problems when they come into contact with surfaces hundreds and even thousands of times a year.”

The teams test at extreme temperatures to replicate the inside of a car parked at the beach on a hot day. In other tests, the engineers subject samples with ultra-violet light, equivalent to the brightest place on earth, for up to 48 days.

Based on the findings, Ford reformulates the chemical constitution of protective coatings to protect the interiors. The same tests are also used for accessories, such as boot liners and plastic covers.

‘Detective work’

“Sometimes what we do requires a bit of detective work,” said Richard Kyle, materials engineer, based in Dunton.

“There were instances of particularly high wear in Turkey and we managed to trace it back to ethanol potentially being a contributing factor, and most likely a popular hand sanitiser that contained 80 percent ethanol – far higher than anything we’d seen before.

“Once we knew what it was, we were able to do something about it.”

Made in Dagenham: Ford factory celebrates 90 years

Ford DagenhamOn 17 May 1929, Edsel Ford – only son of Henry Ford – cut a small strip of turf from the Dagenham marshes. It was a symbolic first step in the construction of a new factory. And, unlike the car that later bore Edsel’s name, Dagenham would go on to be wildly successful.

Today, Dagenham makes and exports around a million diesel engines a year. And a £460 million investment in Ford’s new ‘Panther’ production line, which builds diesels for the Kuga SUV and Transit van, means production will increase still further.

To celebrate the factory’s 90th anniversary, we shared a slice of Blue Oval cake with some of its staff. Here’s the story so far.

Prefect makes a million

Ford Dagenham

Dagenham was a huge operation from the start; the site had its own steel foundry, power station and on-site railway. Construction took two years and vast quantities of concrete – essential to support the foundations on soggy marshland.

The first vehicle off the production line was a Ford AA truck, based on the successor to the legendary Model T.  However within less than a decade, Dagenham would become part of the war effort, building engines and armoured vehicles.

Normal service was swiftly resumed once World War Two ended, and the factory built its millionth car – a 10hp Prefect – in 1946. Famously, it was priced at exactly £100.

Industrial action

Ford Dagenham

The factory expanded hugely in the 1950s, producing popular cars such as the Anglia and Zephyr. The all-conquering Cortina was also built in Dagenham from 1962, with the millionth diesel engine following in 1965.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing. In 1968, Ford’s female sewing machinists went on strike, demanding the same hourly wage as their male colleagues. With no car seat covers being made, car production at Dagenham ground to a halt.

After three weeks, the strike was resolved, the workers’ action leading to the Equal Pay Act of 1970. It also inspired Made in Dagenham, a West-End musical and film starring Sally Hawkins and Bob Hoskins.

The engine of change

Ford Dagenham

By the 1970s, the plant looked dated and more industrial strife (not unique to Ford) was taking its toll. The company decided to build its new Escort in Saarlouis, Germany, while production of the Fiesta was shared with a new site in Valencia, Spain.

Likewise, the 1982 Sierra was jointly produced with the Genk facility in Belgium, and by the 1990s only the Fiesta (and its Mazda 121 cousin) we being made in Dagenham.

The final Fiesta rolled off the line in 2002, leaving Dagenham as purely an engine plant, a role in which – despite large areas of the original site falling into disuse – it has thrived.

Ninety not out

Ford Dagenham

Ford’s new Panther line is a case in point. Here, in this clinically-clean facility, diesel cylinder heads, blocks and crankshafts are CNC-machined from the raw materials. The process is mesmeric, the rate of production staggering.

Yet Dagenham remains a huge part of the community, too. Generations of the same families have worked here, and many employees have spent their entire careers on-site.

Kenneth Blackmore, who cuts the cake, has been building engines at Dagenham for 48 years. “It’s changed a bit during that time,” he tells me.

2019 Ford Performance-Mustang Supercar Wins Again in Perth

Australian Ford Mustang Supercar racer just can’t stop winning

2019 Ford Performance-Mustang Supercar Wins Again in PerthFord Performance had high hopes for the all-new V8 Mustang in its debut season of the Virgin Australian Supercars Championship.

However, we’re not sure even Ford could have predicted the level of dominance from the Supercar ‘Stang so far.

Of the 12 races held, Ford Mustang GTs have topped the podium an incredible 11 times. The 2018 Drivers’ Championship winner Scott McLaughlin has taken eight of those wins alone, and he looks set to carry on doing the same.

The latest rounds in Perth, Western Australia, saw the DJR Penske Shell V-Power Racing Mustangs take two more victories beneath the floodlights.

Racing at night seemingly had no effect the Mustang’s performance, with the Fords taking a commanding 1-2-3 result in the first race of the weekend.

Fabian Coulthard led home the pack, with DJR Penske teammate McLaughlin in second place. Tickford Racing’s Chaz Mostert completed the race 11 podium.

2019 Ford Performance-Mustang Supercar Wins Again in PerthRace 12 saw Scott McLaughlin re-establish his dominance, taking another win to increase his career total to 33 victories, and extending his lead in the 2019 Drivers’ Championship fight.

Predicting a Mustang frenzy at the Western Australia rounds should have been easy, given that McLaughlin secured pole position for both races. He also managed to set a new lap record around the Perth circuit in the process.

However, not everyone is pleased with the Blue Oval’s success in 2019, with the technical department of the Australian Supercars Championship requiring Ford teams to make changes to the Mustang.

2019 Ford Performance-Mustang Supercar Wins Again in PerthAhead of the two Perth races, those teams fielding the Mustang were told to alter the size of the rear-wing endplates, along with making other mandatory aerodynamic tweaks.

This was intended to keep the racing in the Supercars Championship as close as possible, and ensure even parity with the rival Holdens and Nissans. But it was a move that seemingly had little effect.

Earlier in the season, changes were also made to the Mustang’s centre of gravity, despite the design of the car having been tested and homologated by series organisers and other rival manufacturers.

2019 Ford Performance-Mustang Supercar Wins Again in PerthMark Rushbrook, global director of motorsport at Ford Performance, commented: “We have worked so hard alongside Shell V-Power Racing and Tickford Racing, so to come to Perth and see Mustang in such competitive form is such a great feeling.”

As the alterations imposed by the Supercars technical team failed to dampen the abilities of the Mustang in Perth, the question will be whether more drastic measures will be necessary.

With 19 races still left in the Australian Supercars calendar, including the legendary Bathurst 1000 endurance event in October, there is time left for further attempts to slow the Mustang down.

Whether on-track, or in the scrutineering office, we can certainly expect the Ford Performance Mustang to keep grabbing headlines Down Under in 2019.

For sale: Ford Escort made from £78k of gold, silver and diamonds

Gold Ford Escort

We love a good car auction, but this one is a bit different. This 1:25 scale Ford Escort could sell for as much as a real one. For reference, classic Escorts go for more than £50,000 in good condition.

What could possibly be so special about a scale model? Well, it’s no kids toy. This Escort, if melted down and sold for scrap, would be worth £78,000. See, it’s not your average Bburago model, being made of gold, silver and diamonds.

This scale replica of Ari Vatanen’s late-1970s works rally car has been a 25-year labour of love for jeweller Russell Lord. He himself owns a sizeable collection of 55 full-sized Escorts.

“It’s been a hobby that I’ve come back to again and again, but three years ago I determined to finish it,” said Lord.

“I know this car inside out – so there were no plans. I just built it from the ground up piece by piece.”

Breaking down the precious Escort

So, where do all the precious bits go? Well, the body is made of silver, while the brakes, spoiler and wheels are gold. The grille is white gold, and flanked by 72-point diamonds for the headlights. The indicators and brake lights are the correct colours, being made of orange sapphire and ruby respectively.

Inside, it features a moving platinum gear shifter with diamonds in it, while the engine pulleys spin as they would on the real car. The windows were a particularly tricky, and involved smashing vases until glass fragments of the correct size and shape were found.

So, if you’ve got the money, this Escort could be an intriguing buy. We hope it pulls in the cost of the materials at least. As for 25 years of man-hours? We’re scared to do the maths for that.

Get bidding online at www.themarket.co.uk on May 2. All profits will be donated to charity.